The girl told the undercover police detective she was 18, but she was only 14.
Lakewood police say Phuem Path, 32, was prostituting the girl, who had a tattoo visible on her breast commonly placed on young girls by pimps.
Path is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail after pleading not guilty to charges of second-degree human trafficking and promoting commercial abuse of a minor.
The girl and Path were arrested Thursday after two officers spotted the girl behaving suspiciously in the 8600 block of South Hosmer Street in Tacoma, according to charging papers.
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The location “is well-known for prostitution activity,” the documents state.
The officers were in the area doing surveillance for an undisclosed operation.
An undercover detective pulled up near the girl and waved her over. They allegedly agreed to a price for sex and arranged to meet around the corner.
Path was parked nearby and watched the girl’s movements, records state.
After he was taken into custody, Path said he knew the girl’s mother and gave the teen a ride at the girl’s request. He denied knowing anything about prostitution.
Pierce County prosecutors said more charges against Path might be pending.
The girl was not charged.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653